Last week (23/4/12) I attended UWE’s E-Books: Experiences and Future Directions Conference. It was a Joint Higher Education and NHS, free of charge event for Library Staff.
I thought this conference provided a really useful introduction to the main areas of e-books, current trends and future plans and gave me the opportunity to understand the issues around e-books and the benefits they offer to our staff and students.
The course started with James Clay from University of Gloucester who talked about the challenges and issues libraries facing from embedding the use of e-books. Anna Hooper form Bristol libraries gave the public library consortium approach to the e-book service and how well is being used.
The advantages and the “Martini learning” approach of delivering e-books to the medical students through mobile devices at University of Leeds were covered by Nancy Davies and sharing her experience.
Next we were introduced to Patron Driven Acquisition (PAD) model by Neil Ford. Students he said “will expect to be involved in every level of decision making” in the future and libraries need to introduce models of selection which will help collection development.
We then moved on to Huw Alexander from Sage and cover the publishers point of view toward e-books and highlighted that all formats are important depending on the style of study you plan. He accepted that all forces need to come together work much closely try and be flexible and find better solutions for easier accessibility.
After lunch five e-book providers highlight their plans for the future.
It was also interesting to try out a range of e-book readers.
Finally the day concluded with a “Q&A” debate, providing the opportunity to put questions to all of the presenters, publishers and e-book aggregators who are participating during the day and encourage debate.
One interesting point that did come out from the conference was that part of the problem is that e-books are complex or the e-book market is not matured yet because they are available so many different formats and getting something as simple to work well in any platform can be a frustrating experience. All (publishers, aggregators, librarians) realized and agreed that it is a constant changing technological landscape and we, as information professionals need to be tuned , keep well informed about this medium and keep supporting the evolving needs of our users. Students have varied expectations for accessing resources and information and we must accommodate these technologies in order to support their learning.
All presentations can be seen at the link: